One of the key pieces of feedback that I received during the last module was that my images were coming across a bit ‘flat.’ I was a little surprised by this comment as I felt the aesthetic of my images and the flatness presented was reflective of the place that I was photographing. Crucially, I did not spend any time really discussing this in my CRJ so the feedback is fair in my lack of justification. Additionally, the images in my zine were definitely flatter than the digital version owing to the way that the work was printed. I take on board this feedback and will aim to work to explore different ways of editing and presenting the work for my next WIPP.
Underpinning my reasoning to continue with black and white is also how Vanessa Winship comments on its contrast to the way that we view the world (2015), which is supported by David Campany’s view that “the supposedly greater seriousness of black and white was also present in photojournalism, which remained distinct from the pages of colour advertising well into the 1950s” (2020: 36). This contrast is useful to construct ‘seriousness’ and also ‘nostalgia’ in a body of work, knowing that it can be read in an ‘already learned’ sense by the reader. This is also the reason why photographers such as Alec Soth utilise it to create a perceived sense of a world that used to exist, yet probably never existed, or only existent through the photographs that we learned it from. It was useful for me to explore this throughout the last module to see how its use can impact the images that I am producing. Campany also offers additional interpretation in the value placed onto the black and white image: “The habits and criteria for art photography were formed in relation to black and white, and were entrenched by those who could not see beyond colour’s association with commerce and entertainment” (p. 36). This view again shows how the contrast is impacting the reading of the images and can be a powerful tool to start shaping it using these inherent qualities.
I want to continue to utilise black and white for this next module’s work, I feel that the medium lends an aspect of consistency to the work that I have not had before. My project intends to continue building on the ideas that I developed during the last module; in the idea of connection to place and my aesthetic choices to represent it. I spent a great deal of time investigating the impact of these choices on the outcome of the images and to build on this, I aim to take the technical and apply it more to the metaphorical and the conceptual, which is crucial to a well-executed project.
Contrast in the image
There is an argument that any kind of manipulation of the image is an act of misrepresentation of the truth in the image. My editing, or lack thereof, may have been in part aiming to follow some kind of ethical trope. Knowing however, that all images are constructions, then is seems clear that the editing of the work becomes another step in the workflow of making that image – in camera, in post-production.
Campany, D., 2020. On Photographs. 1 ed. London: Thames and Hudson.
Stein, S., 2020. Migrant Mother Migrant Gender. 1 ed. London: Mack.
Winship, V., 2015. A Small Voice: Conversations with Photographers – 082 – Vanessa Winship: “And Time Folds” Special [Interview] (11 September 2015).